How to correct "duck feet" (feet turned outward)?

by Nemanja Stojanovic

I've always walked with my feet turned outwards (like a duck?), I also stand that way, and ride a bicycle that way.

Of course, in kendo, I have to keep my feet parallel, which I try my best to do, but it's uncomfortable, and as soon as I forget about it, I turn my feet outwards again.

So I have to think about it all the time to keep them parallel. Is this a common problem among beginners? Can it be fixed, and what exercises should I do to fix it?

PS… your site is very helpful! I've read most of what you wrote, and it's both a useful and fun read.

Thank you!

Answer: Thank you for your post and kind words. It is called “shumoku-ashi” in Japanese.  Now the question is how to fix so I would like write some ideas to fix it.

  1. Keep your knees straight

  2. Twist the left toe in when you take chūdan

  1. Keep your knees straight: if you keep your knees straight, the left toe stays straight.

  1. Twist the left toe in when you take chūdan: this feels more unnatural but because of it you know your left foot is straight.

You must always be aware of the angle of your left feet if you want to fix it. It feels weird first but you will get used to it.

Here is the hidden No. 3. And this is my personal view.

You must fix shumoku-ashi but you do not HAVE to keep your left foot totally straight.  It is kind of natural that your left foot turns a bit outwards.

It is true that we should have our left foot straight if we want to strike fast and from a distance.

It is because the left foot can transfer all the power into your left leg if the left foot is straight. That means your strike can be faster and more powerful.

You must have the left foot a bit towards your opponent but if you are not after speed in your strike, you do not have to think that you must have it TOTALLY straight.

You should make an effort to have it straighter but don’t have to have it totally straight. That’s my view but you should always consult with your teacher.

Hope this helps.

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Nov 07, 2010
by: Anonymous

I can't believe I did it this fast, but I've already started walking with my feet parallel without thinking about it! Thanks guys!

Kendo-Guide.Com: Good for you!

Oct 12, 2010
Trick for keeping your knees straight
by: Matt

I also walk naturally with my feet turned out. I find keeping my knees straight is the easiest way to correct this.

My trick for doing this is always think about pointing my knees at my opponent (real or imaginary) by doing this I can keep my feet parallel.

Kendo-Guide.Com: Thanks for sharing your trick, Matt!

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